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Putting the Sting on Mealy Marauders: Thailand Unleashes South American Wasps to Save Its Cassava Crop [Slide Show]

How many wasps does it take to stop mealybugs?--About a quarter of a million

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BIOCONTROL:

Thailand's agriculture department unleashed roughly 250,000 of the tiny wasps on July 17 in a bid at biocontrol of mealybugs throughout the nation's northeast.....[ More ]

MEALYBUG ASSASSIN:

This two-millimeter-long wasp, known as Anagyrus lopezi , injects its eggs into mealybugs, killing them from the inside out as the larvae grow. The insect has proved an effective tool for control of the agricultural pests in Africa in the 1980s.....[ More ]

MEALY TIME:

Mealybugs have been spotted on cassava crops throughout northeastern Thailand. At least 200,000 hectares have been affected by the pest, which causes the plants to shrivel by sucking their sap.....[ More ]

CROP CRISIS:

After centuries of thriving without natural pests or disease, Asia's cassava crop is being threatened by a host of challenges, most prominently the cassava mealybug, which can singlehandedly destroy as much as half of a typical yield.....[ More ]

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT:

A truck laden with newly harvested cassava root trundles to a local starch processing factory in eastern Thailand. That country produces more than half of world exports of the staple crop and the industry (both growing and processing the starchy root) brings in some $1.5 billion.....[ More ]

CASSAVA:

The root of the cassava plant—sometimes called yucca or manioc—is a food staple in much of the world.....[ More ]

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